Colorado Expression Magazine - March/April 2023

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Wildlife Safari



Sitting pretty at The Shore House at The Del


Eco-friendly gardening practices from a local flower farmer

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Photo courtesy of Hotel Del Coronado Photo courtesy of Brianna Bosch LEFT:Poolside at Hotel Del Coronado. RIGHT: Setting up for a floral arranging class at Blossom & Branch Farm.
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in this issue



Notable galas, events and fundraisers


Events and happenings around Colorado


A spotlight on local organizations sparking change


Leanna Clark takes the Girl Scouts of Colorado to new heights


Boulder bites and chef tasting menus


Southern France welcomes Denver artists


An expert in the know


Designs three generations in the making


A new way to bon voyage


Finding respite in Taylor Canyon



Once in a lifetime adventure, a tailor-made safari



Elevated hospitality in Vail



Soaking under the desert sky

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Photo courtesy of Safaris Unlimited (Africa) Ltd.

Getting up close and personal with local giraffes in Africa.


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Photo courtesy of Castle Hot Springs TOP: A bird’s eye view of the thermal hot springs of Bradshaw Mountains. LEFT: Little cabins in the forest green at Taylor River Lodge. Photo courtesy of Taylor River Lodge, Eleven Experience

A WiesnerMedia Publication



Operations Director LISA BUSCIETTA

Design/Production HANNAH ROGERS


Events and Partnership Coordinator/Digital/Social Media JOSIE CISNEROS

Production Manager DAWN PAUL

Contributing Writers


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Cultivate your garden, travel to new heights

This issue celebrates the freshness of a new season as we plant seeds (figuratively and literally) for a spring filled with flowers, food and fabulous trips. Recently my husband and I were invited to Spain for an incredible horseback-riding trip through the Andalusian countryside with Gordie and Felicia Church of Safaris Unlimited. Hearing their stories of authentic outfitter adventures, I was inspired to write about their trips based out of Kenya—what an epic experience.

Now, if you’re like me, you haven’t even thought about your gardens yet, but lucky for us, Brianna Bosch of Lakewood’s Blossom & Branch Farm dreams of them year-round. We sat down with her to learn about sustainable gardening practices and the importance of planting native plants to protect our ecosystem. Plus, her blooms are prettier than a painting.

Speaking of local gardens, right in RiNo there’s a local farm-driven omakase restaurant, called Koko Ni, serving up a Japanese and French-inspired seasonal 10-course tasting menu curated by chef de cuisine James Gnizak and James Beard award-winning chef Paul Qui.

If you’re looking to tap into or refine your artistic skills, the Art Students League of Denver’s atelier at the Château de Napoule in the Côte d’Azur is just the thing. Not only is the setting jaw-droppingly beautiful, but the artist instructors and education are also top-notch, thanks to the La Napoule Foundation.

To travel within your own four walls, consider interior designer Nadia Watts’ new Gem collection by Kravet—a textile line inspired by the designer’s great-great-grandfather, Louis Comfort Tiffany, who founded the iconic stained-glass Tiffany Studios. It’s amazing to see the glass created over 140 years ago reimagined in a more contemporary way—celebrating color, light and individualism.

The famous Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego has gone through an uplift recently, so it’s a great time to experience the Shore House in all its sundrenched, SoCal-chic glory. But if rest, relaxation and renewal—with an optional side of outdoor adventures—sound intriguing, check out our story on Castle Hot Springs. This legendary resort in the mountains of Arizona boasts thermal hot springs tucked into red rocks and palm trees with luxury accommodations. Steeped in Colorado history, the Taylor River Lodge near Crested Butte is another must-book spot with plenty of opportunities to connect with Mother Nature, dine on chef-driven dishes and get pampered daily.

Whatever you fancy, I hope you find the inspiration to go out and cultivate your own garden, travel to new lands and return with fresh eyes this season!

Colorado Expression , Colorado Homes & Lifestyles , Mountain Living From the Publisher COLORADOEXPRESSION.COM
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Elizabeth Hotz | 303.601.5253 Maria Hambrick | 303.562.6508
& Rosanne Dutzer
Egan & Sallie Grewe 720.296.4684
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L’Esprit de Noël

To kick off the 2022 L’Esprit de Noël Holiday Home Tour, Central City Opera hosted a donor appreciation/patron party themed ‘Twas the Night Before at Shaver-Ramsey Fine & Custom Rugs on Nov. 17. Guests enjoyed drinks and hors d’oeuvres and were treated to festive holiday music from some of Central City Opera’s talented artists.

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1 Ex-ofcio board president of Central City Opera Guild and L’Esprit co-chair Louise Atkinson, Ryan and Liz Haarer, Justin Joseph 2 Cathy Groene, VP of Historic Properties, president and CEO Pamela Pantos with past guild president and CCO board member Karen Ritz 3 Event chair for patron party Susan Adams, Lexi Tehren and Mellissa Rick, CCO art director and graphic designer 4 Board member Sonny and Pam Wiegand, honorary board member Barbara Ferguson with Susan Stiff, VP of membership 5 Bridget Rodgers, Lauren Grulke, Gail Bransteitter, director of marketing and communications with CCO 6 Andrew and Melinda Robinson 7 Suzie Erzinger, Vicki McFarlon, Marty Erzinger 8 Stephen and Laura Johnson, Bill Atkinson 9 Buzz Sweat and his daughter, Katie Grassby, L’Esprit de Nöel co-chair 10 Bob and Ginny Fuller 11 Paul Ramsey, Travis Yamamoto 11 Photos Caitlin Roth
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Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show

The Global Down Syndrome Foundation held its annual Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show on Nov. 12 at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel. BBBY is the largest fundraiser for Down Syndrome in the world. Proceeds provide medical care and continued research for thousands of patients with Down Syndrome.

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1 Sen. John Hickenlooper, left, Laura Barton, William Matthews 2 Jessica Nett, Jordyn Johnson, Annabel Bowlen 3 Tom Whitten, actress/model Brooklyn Decker and Glenn Binley 4 Andy and Otis Moore with Drew and Julie Isaac 5 Dr. Pepo Orcasita with Edit and Tamas Viski-Hanka 6 Actress Christina Ricci with Clarissa Capuano and Olivia Martin 7 Awardee Eric Dane and Global president and CEO Michelle Sie Whitten 8 Actress Christina Ricci and Kat Loewen 9 Awardee David Egan and actress Sheree Wilson 10 Event chair Amanda Booth with her parents, Maryann Wylam and Sid Booth Photos Pamela Cress


Ferrari of Denver Toy Drive

The 14th annual Ferrari of Denver Toy Drive & Rally was held on Dec. 10. Thousands of gifts were collected and delivered to Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children in a 100 - car rally. Miles of smiles were given to children who needed it the most this holiday season.

Photos Pamela Cress

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1 Co-host Hilary Walsh, Melinda Keith, April Valentino, Aneba Atzmon 2 Dillon Townsend and Brian Townsend 3 Grant, Brayden and Corbin from Troop 868 4 Jackson Barry, Eagle Scout and cancer survivor, who collected 1,400 toys for the rally 5 Derek Fennig and Elise collecting toys 6 Jason Girdner and Santa 7 GM Steve Fromkin and pre-owned manager Vaughan Grice 8 Director of marketing Steve Wiskow and Jackson Barry 9 Sheryl McCain and Tony Tometich with Phantom 10 Fred Kiekhaefer

MARCH 10 – 19 , 2023

APRIL 14 – 23 , 2023

DANA BENTON & YOSVANI RAMOS BY RACHEL NEVILLE presented by DENVER BALLET GUILD presented by MidFirst Bank JENNIFER GRACE BY RACHEL NEVILLE At the Ellie Caulkins Opera House with live music featuring the Colorado Ballet Orchestra Supported by:


Denver Debutante Ball

The 66th Denver Debutante Ball took place Dec. 22 at the Brown Palace Hotel. Twenty-four young women were presented at this formal event benefiting Denver Botanic Gardens. For the first time, the debutantes also designated a charity where donations could be sent: They chose The Light for Life Foundation International, Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program.

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Photos Steve Peterson 1 Shannon and Brian Furgason. She is chair-elect of the ball. 2 Ball chair Julie Egan and her father, Kenneth Egan. Julie is wearing the gown that her mother, the late Joan Egan, wore when she chaired the ball in 1988. 3 Michael and Heidi Hammell were members of the ball’s receiving line. 4 The Denver Debutante Ball Class of 2022. 5 Patty and Mike Imhoff, left, with former ball chair Suzanne Coxhead and her husband, Tom.
2 Rankings and recognition by unaffiliated rating services and publications should not be construed by a client or prospective client as a guarantee that he or she will experience a certain level of results if Obermeyer Wood is engaged, or continues to be engaged, to provide investment advisory services, nor should it be construed as a current or past endorsement of Obermeyer Wood by any of its clients. Rankings published by magazines, and others, generally base their selections exclusively on information prepared and submitted by the recognized adviser. Rankings are generally limited to participating advisers. Guiding You Toward Financial Peace of Mind. Experienced Investors. Thoughtful Financial Advisors. Focused Problem Solvers. FORBES’ 2022 Best-in-State Wealth Advisors BARRON’S 2022 Top 100 Independent Advisors FORBES’ 2022 Top Women Wealth Advisors ASPEN | DENVER | 970 . 925 . 8747 |


MAY 6 | 9 | 12 | 14 | 2023

Opera Colorado closes its 40th Anniversary Season on a high note with a breathtaking production of Turandot. Puccini’s fantastical tale features a magnifcent chorus and the iconic tenor aria, “Nessun dorma.” Those who wish to marry the fearsome and beautiful Princess Turandot must win a deadly game of riddles. Though she has sworn never to marry, the clever Prince Calàf has a riddle of his own, which may open the door to love.


| 303.468.2030


OPERA COLORADO SATURDAY MAY 13 2023 RSVP TODAY GALA CHAIRS Joy and Chris Dinsdale STARRING FOR ONE NIGHT ONLY Internationally-renowned mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato LEARN MORE or call 303.468.2040


Coors Western Art Exhibit & Sale Red Carpet Reception

Held Jan. 3 and produced by the National Western Stock Show, proceeds from the 30th Coors Western Art Exhibit & Sale benefit the National Western Scholarship Trust. The trust provides college financial support to 100 of our next generation of agri-business, veterinary science, and rural medical leaders.

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1 Board member Terrance Carroll, Audra and Sean McNicholas, chairman of the capital campaign, Pete Coors 2 Vice chairman and treasurer Barth Whitham, board member Justin Cummings, Joseph Murr 3 Dan Reddy, committee member Ashley Tulp, Stephanie Reddy 4 Tyler and Hailey Voeller, Tom and Kelly Tarcha 5 Mike and Maddie Testwuide, Adam Gressa 6 Andrea Hoehn, Carm Fogt 7 Abby Kochevar, Jeff Kochevar 8 Fred Larouche, Diane Chaffee 9 Kevin and Edie Landon 10 Michelle Boehner, Ryan Hostetler
Photos Caitlin Roth

Let The Fort Host Your Next Event!

The Fort Restaurant is a full-scale replica of Bent’s Old Fort, a vital 19th century fur-trading post in southeastern Colorado that operated on the Santa Fe Trail from 1833 to 1849. The Fort Restaurant is the largest adobe building in the nation and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Specializing in lunch, dinner, & cocktail receptions. The Fort o ers a variety of flexible menu options with various price ranges. Entertainment & A/V available upon request.

Dining at The Fort is more than just your typical sit down dinner, it’s a truly Colorado experience, capturing the essence of our historical roots.

Creating Memories that Last a Lifetime:

• Corporate Dinners & Retreats

• Cocktail Receptions

• Weddings, Receptions, & Rehearsal Dinners

• Wedding Welcome Parties

• Engagement Celebrations

• Holiday Parties

• Birthday & Graduation Celebrations

• Retirement Parties

• Presentation Lunches & Dinners

If you would like pricing options or are interested in booking a party at The Fort, please contact our Private Event Manager at 303.697.2282 or by email at You may also fill out an inquiry form at under Private Events & Weddings.

Anne Stephenson Photo & Narrative Carina C Photography Carina C Photography Carina C Photography


2023 Citizen of the West

The National Western Stock Show honored former Wyoming Gov. Matthew Mead as the 2023 Citizen of the West at the awards dinner held on Jan 9. Proceeds from the Citizen of the West event support 100 scholarships for students in Colorado and Wyoming who major in agricultural science, rural medicine, or veterinary medicine.

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1 Honoree Gov. Matt Mead, wife Carol Mead, committee chair Audra McNicholas 2 Vice chairman Barth Whitham, director Justin Cummings 3 Miss Rodeo Colorado Randilyn Madison, Miss Rodeo America Kennadee Riggs, Miss Rodeo Wyoming Reata Cook 4 Committee emeritus chairman Carolyn Wollard, Dave Wollard, committte member Pam Randall, Rick Randall 5 Rob and Wendy Nelson, director Justin Cumming 6 Ces Grant, Nancy Jones 7 Gov. Bill Owens, Monica Owens Beauprez 8 Scott Kauf, Mike Sullivan 9 Claudius Duncan, Andre Thompson 10 Kenny Martinez, Kate Kourlis Photos Caitlin Roth
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Upcoming Events & Happenings

Boulder International Film Festival

Boulder Theater and other locations in Boulder and Longmont


9-12 MARCH

Te red carpet is rolled out for a four-night extravaganza featuring local, national and international flms. More than 25,000 cinephiles, media and industry professionals are expected to gather for flm screenings, live music performances, opening-night galas and flmmaker happy hours. Past attendees included James Franco, Shirley MacLaine and Chevy Chase. A separate ticket may be purchased for CineChef, which ofers flm-inspired dishes from top chefs in Denver and Boulder for attendees to enjoy paired with wines and local beers.

Harlem Globetrotters World Tour

March 9, Southwest Motors Events Center

March 1, Broadmoor World Arena

March 11, 1stBank Center

March 12, Budweiser Events Center

Te Harlem Globetrotters have been a slam-dunk in family entertainment since 1926. Te exhibition basketball team integrates athleticism, theater, comedy and top tricks in ball handling into the game as it the Washington Generals.

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Photo courtesy of Harlem Globetrotters Photo courtesy of Boulder International Film Festival

New Gardener Boot Camp

Denver Botanic Gardens

Are you dreaming of a beautiful garden at home? Are you a new homeowner, new to the Colorado climate or new to gardening? Te Denver Botanic Gardens has cultivated a full day of courses as part of the New Gardener Boot Camp, including Gardening Planning 101, Soils 101, Beginning Vegetable Gardening, and Annuals and Perennials for Color in the Garden. You will leave with answers to all your gardening questions, a new understanding of the art of gardening, a planting guide and a greener thumb.

Disney on Ice Presents Let’s Celebrate



Fiddler on the Roof

Buell Theatre

Ten-time Tony-winning musical Fiddler on the Roof is a story steeped in tradition and amplifed with the music, choreography and an esteemed cast that makes it one of the most beloved theatrical productions of all time. Te historic tale of the relationship between a father and his daughters as they come of age is inspirational for all.

March 23-26, The Broadmoor World Arena

March 30-April 2, Budweiser Events Center

April 6-9, Denver Coliseum

Minnie and Mickey are hosting a party for 50 favorite Disney characters, and Colorado families are invited to attend. Princesses, Aladdin, Olaf, Forky, Timon and Pumbaa, Moana and Mary Poppins will be among those strapping on skates and animating 14 of Disney’s beloved stories. Costumes for ages 14 and under and mouse ears for all ages are encouraged. Get ready to sing along.

MARCH / APRIL 2023 21 on the docket MICHAEL LEWIS FEATURING JFS EXECUTIVE LUNCHEON AUTHOR OF “THE BLIND SIDE” “MONEYBALL”  “THE PREMONITION” “THE FIFTH RISK” FRIDAY, APRIL 28 12:00 – 1:30 P.M. Sheraton Downtown Denver Hotel 1550 Court Place Denver, CO 80202 Sponsorships and tickets at
Photo Joan Marcus Photo courtesy of Denver Botanic Gardens. © Scott Dressel-Martin

Denver Home Show

National Western Complex

Te hub for homeowners is back with more than 400 booths showcasing the latest trends and newest products in home décor and furnishings. Learn how to DIY through demonstrations throughout the day. Tere is no better way to stay au courant at home.

Telluride Cardboard Sled Derby

NASTAR Race Hill

Te Cardboard Sled Derby adds a new dimension to downhill racing. Kids ages 5-14 compete in creating sleds of only corrugated cardboard, paint, tape and glue, with string or rope for handles. Winners will be judged on speed, creativity and sportsmanship. Te event promotes awareness of the importance of youth mentoring and raises funds to cover programming costs for the organization One to One Mentoring. More information is available at

22 coloradoexpression com on the docket 3000 East Third Avenue[ I I 303-623-1151 [ Free parking behind building LARGEST HAT CURATOR Derby Luncheons Weddings Polo Galas
24-26 MARCH

Brass Ring Luncheon

Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel

Join Te Guild of the Children’s Diabetes Foundation as it honors Type 1 heroes at the Spring Brass Ring Luncheon & Fashion Show. Proceeds from event will fund research at the Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes, promote diabetes awareness and education, assist families in need, provide scholarships, and sponsor activities for children and families afected by diabetes.

Featured designer: Club Monaco

Club Monaco is a timeless lifestyle brand, providing a wardrobe for every aspect of life—from lounge wear to special occasions, and everything in between. Each collection includes a curated assortment of men’s and women’s clothing and accessories ofering accessible luxury.

Thursday, May 18


Join Roundup River Ranch as we serve up all the camp fun in the city! Experience an evening full of entertainment, storytelling, and a special menu created by Chef Troy Guard and other great chefs!

A Taste of Camp supports Roundup River Ranch’s mission to enrich the lives of children with serious illnesses and their families by o ering free, medically-supported camp programs that provide unforgettable opportunities to discover joy, friendships, and confidence.

Carnival of the Animals with the Denver Zoo

Boettcher Concert Hall

Animals from the Denver Zoo join the Colorado Symphony Orchestra musicians on stage for a performance of Carnival of the Animals, composed by Camille Saint-Saens. Te expressive music portrays the characteristics of each animal, which makes this an ideal introduction to the orchestra for frst-time patrons and creates a memorable experience for all ages.

Reserve Your Seat!

Tickets & Sponsorships Available

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A delicious tidbit of camp in the mountains - served up in the city
Photo courtesy of Colorado Symphony Orchestra


Taste of Vail Vail

Be immersed in the Vail lifestyle through this dynamic event that showcases gourmet food and beverage and exudes the signature style of Vail Valley. Set against the scenic backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, the Taste of Vail encourages attendees to experience the favors of Colorado, including palate-pleasing, one-of-a-kind dishes created by renowned chefs, pairing dinners, challenges, seminars and more.


APRIL Colorado Tartan FestivalDay Boulder County Fairgrounds

Scottish, Irish and Celtic roots are honored in this weekend festival. Watch demonstrations of the heritage crafs of leatherwork and blacksmithing and sample traditional fare in a replica village hosted by the Renaissance Scots Living History Association. Be sure to catch the Wolves of Dunvegan as they practice traditional combat skills. Te event also features clan tents, custom clothing and jewelry, food trucks and a pub. Kilts and tartans encouraged.



The One Gala: Colorado Ballet

Ellie Caulkins Opera House

Te One Gala promises to be an unforgettable evening in celebration of Colorado Ballet’s 62nd season. Enjoy celebratory cocktails, a ballet-infused live auction and Wish Tree, dinner and dancing, as well as an exclusive presentation of Clark Tippet’s Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1, featuring artists of Colorado Ballet and Max Bruch’s score performed live by the Colorado Ballet Orchestra.

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Photo Zach Mahone


Theatre of Dreams Gala: Shakespeare in Love

Denver Museum of Nature & Science

Central City Opera invites you to attend its Teatre of Dreams Gala for a night of Shakespeare in Love, featuring artists from its 2023 production of Kiss Me, Kate. Guests will celebrate the upcoming festival season with a gourmet dinner, refreshments and entertainment.


29-30 APRIL

Bluebird Music Festival

CU Boulder’s Macky Auditorium

Ben Harper and Watchhouse headline this year’s Bluebird Music Festival as it returns for its ffh consecutive year. It will be joined by Shovels & Rope, Haley Heynderickx, Bufalo Nichols, Adam Aijala and Ben Kaufmann of Yonder Mountain String Band, Daniel Rodriguez, Joshua Lee Turner and Bob Barrick, Emelise and Heavy Gus. In addition to evening performances, each afernoon welcomes the more casual Strings & Stories event. Proceeds beneft the Future Arts Foundation


Women with Hattitude

Seawell Ballroom

Te Women with Hattitude luncheon is a vibrant afair that supports the work of women in the American theater. Te event features networking, retail booth displays, seasonal beverages and a seated luncheon in the Seawell Ballroom. Following lunch, guests participate in a Parade of Hats that will highlight their creative chapeaus —complete with prizes. Proceeds beneft DCPA’s Women’s Voices Fund, which supports the commissioning and production of plays written and directed by women.

Diamonds in the Ruff: Run for the Roses gala

Hyatt Regency DTC

Show of your most festive derby fnery, sip a refreshing “puppermint” julep and enjoy a delectable dinner at the 11th annual Diamonds in the Ruf: Run for the Roses gala. Tis exhilarating event benefts Freedom Service Dogs’ life-changing work. Dawn your bow ties and extravagant hats for a night flled with pomp and circumstance…you could even win a sparkling diamond if the odds are on your side.

Honoring Our Heroes

Be a part of something amazing! Join us for an afternoon of inspiration as we recognize members and community leaders who have helped make an impact on underserved children within the eight Denver Metro Areas we serve.

Become A Sponsor!

Sponsorships are a great way to not only promote your business, but also support A Precious Child’s mission to help empower children to achieve their full potential!

To learn more about the event or sponsorship opportunity inquiries, contact our Development team at or 303.466.4272 ext. 322.

April 13th, 2023

11:30 AM – 1:00 PM

Seawell Ballroom

Denver Center for the Performing Arts

1350 Arapahoe Street Denver, Colorado

MARCH / APRIL 2023 25 on the docket
Photo courtesy of Bluebird Music Festive

Shining a light on nonpro ts making an impact

Wagon Coffee Roasters | The Challenge Foundation


Tami and Ryan Canaday’s journey of turning the tragedy of addiction into a triumph for themselves and others began in 2018 when a handful of addicts and their loved ones gathered in their suburban Denver backyard to enjoy a cup of cofee and share their stories without shame or judgment.

Within four months, “Our backyard was busting at the seams,” Tami recalls. “It was apparent we were flling a need—and that we needed more space.”

Ryan, a United Methodist Church pastor who celebrated his 10th year of sobriety in January, and Tami, who had been a corporate cofee company executive, quickly realized this response had validated their vision of helping others reach, and sustain, recovery.

Tami had worked as a barista while completing a bachelor’s degree in psychology at Colorado Christian University and proceeded to learn “everything there is to know about cofee, which I love,” while pursuing a master’s degree and climbing the corporate management ladder.?

“For our backyard gatherings, I was serving cofee that I had roasted in a little 8-ounce roaster,” Tami says. “Everyone loved it.” Te enthusiastic response, she adds, “sparked something in me to do something with cofee that would make a measurable impact on those in recovery.”

First came FREE, a 501(c)(3) nonproft that is now housed in a former church near the University of Denver. Tami describes FREE as “a community for addicts, loved ones of addicts and spiritual refugees where we break the silence of addiction while creating space for healing, recovery and spiritual connection.” Ryan Canaday is its executive director and


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spiritual Story Joanne Davidson ABOVE: Tami Canaday seated on bags of coffee to be roasted. OPPOSITE LEFT: Tami and Ryan Canaday visit a coffee farm in Costa Rica, which is one of the 10-plus countries from which Wagon Coffee Roasters beans are sourced. OPPOSITE TOP RIGHT: The Bellwether roaster enables coffee to be roasted in an eco-friendly, zero-waste way. OPPOSITE BOTTOM RIGHT: An assortment of blends from Wagon Coffee Roasters. Photos courtesy of Tami Canaday

“Tere are between 500 and 1,000 people in our building every week for meetings, clinics and other activities,” Tami says. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the Canadays moved the popular Saturday-evening meetings online, reaching people in 45 countries who spoke 33 different languages. Today, a couple thousand people from all over the world continue with the online sessions, while an additional 200 or so gather in person.

Ryan leads the Saturday-night meetings, which begin with the Lord’s Prayer, end with the Serenity Prayer and give the Canadays and others “a front-row seat to God’s miracles—and the lowest lows.”

FREE also is the home to a “pay as you can” café run by women who are at least one year sober. It opened in March 2021, and the featured beverage is cofee brewed from Tami’s Wagon Cofee Roasters, a for-proft business that she started in 2020.

Wagon Cofee Roasters helps fund FREE while employing and empowering women in recovery and providing a verifed living income to cofee-growing partners in over 10 countries. “Our cofee is processed from farm to cup by humans, not machines, who receive livable, workable wages,” Tami notes. “We’re an eco-friendly, zero-emissions company, thanks to our Bellwether roasting system, of which there are only a handful in Colorado.”

Wagon Cofee is sold online and in some 50 sober-living homes, a handful of churches and retail outlets that include Te Donut in Greenwood Village, Angel Concept in Littleton and Wave the Grain locations in Littleton and Centennial, according to Tami.

FREE recently received a grant from the Anschutz Foundation to explore options for expansion. “We want to expand, but we want to do it right, with the correct logistics,” says Tami. “Te grant enables us to do that.”

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Shining a light on nonpro ts making an impact


Don McFall’s work with nonproft organizations that give a hand to those in need was gratifying, but he couldn’t shake the feeling that much more could be done when it came to breaking the cycle of poverty.

His dream was to give motivated kids from low-income families a better crack at personal and economic success by enabling them, starting in middle school, to be educated at highly rated, accredited, private college-prep schools and, following their high school graduation, to continue at the college of their choice.

McFall, a real estate developer, and his wife, Janis, gathered a group of like-minded individuals and in 1998 established Te Challenge Foundation. It was launched with the enrollment of one sixth-grader at St. Mary’s Academy.

Today, Te Challenge Foundation has partnered with four more schools: Graland Country Day School, Colorado Academy, St. Anne’s Episcopal School and Kent Denver School. It also has expanded to include branches in Phoenix, Ariz., and El Paso, Texas, for an enrollment of an estimated 200 scholars.

“He saw many needs that weren’t being met, especially the whole middle school to college to career plane,” executive director Holly Dichter says of McFall. “So, he put all the pieces of the puzzle together and formed Te Challenge Foundation.”

Patrick Byrne, who joined Te Challenge Foundation as chief executive ofcer in January following 20 years with Denver Kids and Denver Urban Scholars, explains that each of the foundation’s scholars are matched with mentors and advisors, establishing deep and long-term relationships that beneft both the scholars and their families.

Mentors are asked to commit for seven years, during which time they meet with their scholars twice a month in addition to having weekly communication with them. “A college degree and time are our two bigest requirements for mentors,” Dichter says. “Te time they spend with their scholars includes engaging them in activities and opportunities the scholars might not otherwise be able to experience.”

Challenge advisors also engage with the scholars, helping them with things like preparing for SAT and ACT tests and completing college applications. A mandatory summer program ofers academic growth and enrichment activities.

Ninety-fve percent of the scholars fnish high school, and 90 percent of the high school graduates are on track to graduate, or have graduated, from college.

Success stories abound among the graduates. One is a consultant for Deloitte in New York City; another is a physical therapist. A third graduate is the alumni engagement ofcer for Regis University, and another is the membership coordinator for Rocky Mountain PBS.

While Te Challenge Foundation sees to it that scholar families aren’t burdened with tuition and other expenses, they are asked to contribute something, even if all they can aford is $10. Some of the partner schools underwrite 100 percent of the tuition; others ofer a heavy discount, with the foundation paying the balance.

Te Challenge Foundation is funded through donations provided by individuals and family foundations. It also hosts one “friend-raising” event each year, a breakfast where potential supporters can learn more about the program and how to become involved. Te next such event is on June 13 at St. Mary’s Academy; reservations are required. Te breakfast isn’t a fundraiser per se, but attendees are asked to consider a donation. In 2022, the guests were so impressed that they contributed more than $1 million.

28 coloradoexpression com cause worthy
Shining a light on nonpro ts making an impact
Story Joanne Davidson Photos courtesy of The Challenge Foundation Joanne Davidson is a frequent contributor to Colorado Expression
MARCH/APRIL 2023 29 cause worthy
Shining a light on nonpro ts making an impact
THE CHALLENGE FOUNDATION 4545 S. University Blvd., Englewood 303-209-3364
OPPOSITE: A Challange Foundation Scholar and his dad are all smiles. TOP: A group of CF scholars. BOTTOM LEFT: A group of proud CF Alumni. BOTTOM RIGHT: CF high school students preparing for college.


Over the course of some 30 years, Leanna Clark has been a radio reporter, television news anchor, co-owner of one of the region’s largest marketing and public relations frms, director of a risk-management company’s charitable foundation and vice chancellor of university communications for the University of Colorado Denver.

She also founded and led PhilanthroTravel, a division of the Denver-based international medical relief nonproft Project C.U.R.E. Tere, she developed the division’s business plan, drove fundraising, and designed and led trips to Cuba, Panama, Mexico and Belize with U.S. business and community leaders, enabling them to “travel with heart” to developing nations.

In May 2020, Clark became chief executive ofcer of Girl Scouts of Colorado, and in less than three years she has led the organization to new heights. Tey include:

Being on track to becoming the frst Girl Scout chapter in the United States to open a Girl Scout DreamLab. Due to open in the frst quarter of 2023, the DreamLab will be located in the Lowry neighborhood and will ofer programs and activities presenting new, hands-on ways to experience Girl Scouting.

Having the work of staf and volunteers recognized by philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, who last October gifed $2.8 million to Girl Scouts of Colorado.

Developing new partnerships with corporations and nonprofts that provide innovative programming and opportunities for Colorado Girl Scouts, including a statewide mental wellness initiative.

Clark said it was the opportunity to help inspire the next generation of female leaders that drew her to Girl Scouts of Colorado. “To have a role in helping girls become confdent in themselves, willing to take risks, knowing they can do and be anything they put their minds to” motivates her in her new role.

Te size and scope of Girl Scouts of Colorado, she adds, “really excited me. We serve 16,000 girls with 9,000 adult members and volunteers, a staf of 120 and eight properties including camps and ranches across the state. I saw so much potential to build on Girl Scouts’ 100-plusyear history and position us as relevant and essential for our girls today and tomorrow.”

Says Christine Benero, president/CEO of Mile High United Way, “You only have to spend fve minutes with Leanna to realize you are in the presence of one of the most creative, energetic, kind and visionary leaders in our community. Her spirit, sense of adventure and humor is contagious. Her relentless belief in holding up all women and girls is what makes her the right leader at the right time.”

“Leanna is the consummate ‘can do’ leader,” adds Debbie Welle-Powell, a former executive with Essentia Health and the SCL Health System. “She doesn’t hesitate; she acts with purpose, whether it was developing

TOP: Girl Scouts of Colorado CEO Leanna Clark’s mega-watt smile is on display at a recent Girl Scouts event. OPPOSITE TOP: Things are looking up for Clark and local Girl Scouts. OPPOSITE BOTTOM: One of Clark’s dogs spreads love to a Girl Scout troop. Story Joanne Davidson
◊ ◊ ◊ public persona 30 coloradoexpression com
Photos courtesy of Girl Scouts of Colorado

her own business, taking Denver leaders to Cuba, or her role as vice chancellor at CU. She shines with purpose.”

Clark is the recipient of honors that include being one of the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce Top 25 Most Powerful Women in Colorado and the Denver Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 Hall of Fame. Here are some of the reasons why:

How do people describe you?

A connector, creative, strategic and energetic. How would you like to be remembered?

As someone with an ability to bring people and organizations together to create something more powerful and important than what could have been accomplished individually.

Who do you most admire?

My dear friends Maria Garcia Berry and Donna Lynne. Both are self-made, badass women with hearts of gold. What is a fun fact about yourself that others may find surprising?

I’m actually an introvert! I’ve pushed myself out of my comfort zone over the years to the point where I’d now call myself an ambivert.

Describe your fashion style:

Casually elegant with a lot of (Girl Scout) green.

The one thing you absolutely cannot live without?

Dogs. I have three.

Your last major purchase?

A bright blue Jeep Wrangler.

Any hobbies?

Working out, traveling, seeking out live music and new restaurants, and devouring Te New York Times.

What is the last great book that you read?

Dinners with Ruth, by Nina Totenberg.

When it comes to relaxing, nothing beats … Wine, dogs, my husband and friends in our lovely backyard, complete with freplace and koi pond/fountain.

What do you most enjoy about living in Colorado?

Its diversity, from the gritty sophistication of RiNo to the breathtaking beauty of the mountains.

What is your favorite Colorado restaurant?

Te newest one to open.

Besides Girl Scouts, are you involved with any other nonprofits or charities?

I’m board chair of the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce and also serve on the boards of the Colorado Music Hall of Fame and the Public Education and Business Coalition.


Leanna Clark

Age: 56

Marital status: Newlywed! Married Scott Remington on July 30, 2022

Children: 20-year-old twins (one boy, one girl) who are in college

Job title: CEO Girl Scouts of Colorado

Hometown: Colorado native residing in Denver’s Hilltop neighborhood

Education: Journalism degree from the University of Colorado Boulder


Joanne Davidson has had the good fortune of knowing Leanna Clark since the mid-1980s—and being one of her neighbors.
• public persona

Shore House at The Del blends

with iconic glamour

“California Cool" design
Photos courtesy of Hotel Del Coronado Story Chad Chisholm

Historic hotels across the country have a specifc essence about them: unique architecture, a rich past that transcends decades, and generations of family memories. One such property is the Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego, a quick direct fight from Denver—making it a popular destination for many Coloradans.

Te newest addition to the celebrated hotel, Shore House at Te Del, was designed by renowned architect Leo A. Daly. Completed in 2022, the property blends the best of the famed location’s classic infuences with modern lines, eclectic inspiration and great American style—think breezy beach house vibes with hotel amenities galore.

Upon arrival, Shore House guests immediately experience top-notch service as they drive through the private secluded resort entrance, separating it from the other fve boutique experiences that make up Hotel Del Coronado. In contrast to the signature rich dark woods of the main hotel, the frst thing you notice is airiness and brightness as you walk through to the centerpiece of the property: the zero-edge pool and lounging area. With a chef’s-table dining experience, sof turf for games, well-appointed cabanas and pool loungers all overlooking the Pacifc, it’s the perfect place to spend the day in the sun.

Te design touches that play of the laidback California style and landscape are both calming and invigorating. For example, a collection of lively art layered on foating shelves contrasts with natural-fber pendant lights and a palate of crisp whites and blues. Scattered throughout are touches of Queen Anne Revival design, a nod to the main hotel that ensures a seamless aesthetic.

On top of the impressive interiors, the culinary oferings are top-notch. Whether grabbing a frozen treat at Sundaes or a cocktail at the beautiful mahogany bar of Babcock & Story»

Fireside drinks during Blue Hour, when the sun sets over the Pacific, marks the end of a day well spent.

MARCH / APRIL 2023 33

(named afer the founders of the hotel), there is a delight around every corner of the hotel grounds.

House-made pastries, fresh smoothies and protein-packed dishes at Te Bistro fuel you up for a day of adventures. Steps from the crashing surf, the thatched-roofed Beach + Taco Shack dishes up some of the best fsh tacos around and a plethora of rum drinks, margaritas and local beers. It’s the perfect spot for lunch or a casual dinner.

Te Sun Deck is a favorite spot for many guests, overlooking the beach; if you’re lucky, you’ll see Navy jets landing at the

nearby Coronado Naval Base (cue the Top Gun soundtrack). Serving California coastal dishes, it’s an experience not to be missed.

Blue Hour (the instant the sun sets over the Pacifc) is a daily ritual featuring light bites and cocktail specials at the poolside bar, or reserve your own wood fre pit, complete with ghost stories of Te Del and gooey s’mores.

A new culinary gem on the property, Serẽa, ofers a sustainable sea-to-table menu with seasonal produce and heritage meats provided by local farmers and ranchers. Te quality of the

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TOP LEFT: Nothing screams vacation mode like fruity drinks on the beach striped lounge chairs and crashing waves included. BOTTOM LEFT: Clean lines and shades of blue create a refreshing vibe in this oceanside retreat at The Shore House. TOP MIDDLE : The curated art paired with woven pendant lights and crisp blues and whites creates an inviting scene at The Shore House Bistro. BOTTOM MIDDLE: Charred cauliflower and chickpeas paired with a crisp California white wine are stanouts at The Sun Deck Restaurant. TOP RIGHT: Built in 1888 by Elisha Babcock Jr. and Hampton L. Story and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1977, Hotel Del Coronado is a San Diego icon. BOTTOM RIGHT: Eat, sip, lounge and splash at The Cabanas. Contemporary rooms offer private terraces, complete with your own fire pit steps from the ocean or pool.

ingredients shines in Serẽa’s simple yet sophisticated dishes. For example, the catch of the day is prepared with olive oil, lemon, red wine vinegar and sea salt and wood-fred over an open fre for a unique favor profle. De-boned tableside, the dish is spectacular.

Of course, there are other things to do besides indulge in delicious dishes. Exclusive Shore House wellness activities include beachside Pilates and spin and yoga classes, and personal trainers are at the ready. To top it all of, guests can book poolside spa services in the comfort of private cabanas complete with ocean views.

Each “neighborhood,” as they are called, of Te Del has its own personality and attractions. While the history, glamour and lore of Te Victorian, Te Cabanas, Te Views and Beach Village have enchanted celebrities and guests for decades, the addition of the Shore House is sure to add to the romance of the Hotel Del Coronado experience for years to come.

MARCH / APRIL 2023 35
Chad Chisholm is a Denver-based freelance photographer and writer who travels the globe seeking the beauty in this world. Follow him on Instagram @chadjchis and @luxemodelsglobal.

What to do (and not do) for a bountiful growing season

Story Claudia Carbone Photos courtesy of Brianna Bosch

OPPOSITE: Locally grown garden roses, peonies, snapdragons and spirea create a beautiful centerpiece filled with texture. LEFT: Sweet peas starting to climb their foraged trellis at Blossom & Branch Farm. MIDDLE: Rows of lisianthus dance in the sunlight. RIGHT: Budding floral designers create seasonal stunners filled with peonies, poppies and geraniums.

Though Mother’s Day or afer is the accepted time to plant annuals and perennials in most of Colorado, March and April are ideal months to start ornamental and vegetable plants from seeds. You can buy seed packets any time and store them in a cool, dry place until it’s time to plant.

“Starting seeds in your home when the soil in your yard is too saturated or too cold is a great way to produce plants for your garden, beds and containers, and it’s more afordable,” says Briana Bosch, a dancer turned marketing pro turned fower farmer and proprietor of Blossom and Branch Farm in Lakewood.

Not only is it more economical, Bosch warns that plants bought at garden centers ofen are treated with neonicotinoids (aka neonics), a class of synthetic insecticides—banned in Europe and parts of Canada in 2013 — that not only kill bees, butterfies and other pollinators but are harmful to humans, too, according to the European Union’s Standing Commission on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed.

Pollinators are then exposed to insecticides through pollen and nectar feeding which can leach into the soil, remaining for years, and cannot be washed of (think of your precious pets!). Just like you select organic produce for your table, you should look for neonic-free plants for your garden. Walmart, Costco, Home Depot and Lowes began phasing out neonic-treated plants a few years ago and ofer natural insecticide alternatives, so make sure to read the labels.

From conventional to organic

A ffh-generation conventional farmer from southern Minnesota, nature has always been a place of peace for Bosch. Afer experiencing the sudden loss of a close friend, Bosch, a dancer at the time, “needed space to have my hands in the dirt.” »

MARCH / APRIL 2023 37

LEFT: Building the right support system for flowers to flourish, especially linear stems, is key. RIGHT: Bosch with her hand-grown zinnias and cosmos. OPPOSITE TOP: Starting with rich soil is paramount for any garden. OPPOSITE MIDDLE: English garden roses in the softest pink, overflowing with beauty. OPPOSITE BOTTOM: Bosch practices what she preaches about sustainable farming to help native plants grow, supporting our local ecosystem.

She and her physician husband stumbled upon a 1.7-acre piece of property in Lakewood destined for townhouse development. Tey took a leap of faith and bought it in 2017 and started Blossom and Branch, an organic and regenerative fower farm, specializing in cut fowers and bridal bouquets. All the work is done by hand, without heavy equipment. Half the land is devoted to growing fowers, and the other half is a forest that provides habitat for native wildlife and pollinators.

Planting for beneficial insects

As Bosch started her farm, she learned about growing practices that are detrimental to plants, the land and humans. For example, the neglected property was overrun with invasive plants. When she replaced them with native plants (with her own two hands) she increased the population of native pollinators, which in turn reduced the infestation of pests and bird decline.

Bosch is keen on sharing what she’s learned., or check Afer you get the test results, follow the recommendations for amending your soil. She warns against buying potting soil containing peat moss, which is not ecologically harvested. Te harvesting of peat moss used to improve drainage and retain water in soil contributes to climate change, according to CSU Extension. It is harvested from bogs and fens around the world, but primarily in Canada and Russia. Tese water-loged bogs have taken carbon from the atmosphere and sequestered it for 10,000 to 12,000 years, according to the CSU Extension Service which is why England has banned it starting next year.

Before planting, Bosch says to test your soil temperature with a simple kitchen thermometer. You want it to be around 65 degrees for most plants. Insert the thermometer 4 inches into the dirt; early morning is best.



2440 Iris St., Lakewood 720-319-0243

“Most home gardeners don’t understand why we have pest issues,” she notes. “It’s because they are not growing plants that attract benefcial native insects.” Ladybugs are great for controlling aphids—but the ones you can buy in bulk are harvested in the hibernation stage by the billions in California and bring diseases to our native populations. “We should plant what attracts local ladybugs and other benefcial insects like parasitic wasps,” Bosch says. Among the plants she grows are echinacea, yarrow, medicinal herbs, lisianthus, dahlias, cosmos, snapdragons, zinnias, phlox, roses, peonies, clematis, sunfowers and celosia.

Beneficial soil

If you’ve never had your soil tested, Bosch says spring is a good time to do it. CSU does soil testing (planttalk.

“Don’t skip hardening of” your plants, cautions Bosch, who recommends starting the process at least two weeks before planting. Take the plants outside for a few hours a day and slowly increase outside time. Plant them four to six weeks before the last frost, usually in middle or late May.

Bosch teaches in-person and online classes, including one on how to grow a regenerative garden without pesticides or fertilizers and shows what to do in every season. She has tips for just about anything to do with gardening and is more than happy to share her passion for growing native plants that help our local and global environment.

Denver native Claudia Carbone is an award-winning journalist, author and longtime contributor to Colorado Expression. She has also written for the London Sunday Telegraph,,, MTNTown Magazine, Te Denver Post and other publications. Visit her travel blog Sleepin’ Around on GoWorldTravel.
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1.25 gallons boiling water

2 cups dried stinging nettle

1 cup dried chamomile flowers

2-3 cinnamon sticks

(Optional if your seedlings are heavy feeders: add a scoop of manure, like sheep or bunny)

Steep overnight, strain, and dilute at a rate of 1 part fertilizer to 10 parts water. Apply weekly to seedlings. As seedlings mature, the dilution rate can be decreased with less water.


Have you ever wondered why roses you buy as buds never seem to open up in your vase? That’s because 90 percent of roses and other cut flowers are exported from Columbia, Ecuador, the Netherlands and Kenya, according to Growers coat them in pesticides to make the long journey. This all started in the 1970s when the U.S. government encouraged farmers in those countries to quit growing coca leaves in an effort to curb cocaine and grow flowers instead.

An example of harmful practices in the flower industry is floral foam, a block of spongy material used in cut-flower arranging that is made with toxic chemicals and contains the same amount of plastic as 10 shopping bags, according to the Sustainable Floristry Network. It never breaks down and can’t be recycled. The Royal Horticulture Society banned its use at all of its shows in 2021 going forward.

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ MARCH / APRIL 2023 39


Back when I attended university there, Boulder was afectionately referred to as a “granola” hippie town, a “New Age” community, and even the “People’s Republic of Boulder.” While it may still carry some of that reputation, the city has evolved dramatically since my college days. Today’s Boulder can be better described as “sophisticated” and “cosmopolitan,” as well as afuent, outdoorsy and internationally diverse.

For me, the most enticing description is “culinary paradise”—and Boulder was, in fact named America’s “Foodiest Town” by Bon Appetit magazine in 2010.

Tis smallish city (just over 108,000 residents) boasts the uber-popular Boulder County Farmers Market, named the best in the country by a USA Today readers poll in 2022. Te festive and colorful producers-only market, where some 150 local vendors sell Colorado-grown produce from their own land, began in 1975. Operating from April to November, Saturday mornings and Wednesday evenings in Boulder, the market can draw up to 10,000 visitors on a single day. Boulder is surrounded

by farms—one-third of the land around the city is leased to or owned by farmers, many of them growing organic and/or sustainable produce. Te Boulder County Farm Trail ( ofers details on 20 local farms open to visitors, many with U-pick options.

Launched in 2012, the Flatirons Food Film Festival brought 127 food-related feature flms and shorts to the Boulder community before its demise in 2021, aiming to teach viewers about the world’s food systems and to honor the origins of the food they eat. Its founder and director, Julia Joun, notes, “Twin loves of food and flm inspired the creation of the Flatirons Food Film Festival. Te Boulder food scene was so vibrant with the natural foods industry, creative restaurants and superlative local food.”

Bryan Dayton, formerly bar manager at the James Beard award-winning Frasca Food & Wine and now co-owner of equally renowned Oak at Fourteenth and Corrida, says, “I’ve lived here over 30 years, and Boulder has been considered Colorado’s best restaurant district for a long time.”

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Photo courtesy of Bramble and Hare
sip & savor
Photo courtesy of Visit Boulder

Such multistarred fne dining as Frasca, Oak at Fourteenth, Corrida, Salt, Black Cat, Te Kitchen, Blackbelly and Santo (the latter two owned by Top Chef winner Hosea Rosenberg) and Cafe Aion (the short list!) are in Boulder, as well as myriad lesser-known, yet very worthy, dining spots.

Boulder also hosts two upscale, creative food halls—Avanti F&B and Rosetta Hall, both ofering incredible roofop views of the Flatirons. Happily, several oldies but goodies still thrive, such as the student- and alumni-beloved Te Sink (100 years!) and the 55-year-old Flagstaf House (winner of the Wine Spectator Grand Award).

Te iconic Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse looms beautifully in the downtown area. Tis intricately handcrafed and decorated teahouse was given to Boulder by its sister city of Dushanbe, Tajikistan, in 1990. Afer three years of construction it was carefully transported to Colorado. Ofering more than 100 types of tea in a beautiful space, it’s a must-see. Not a tea-drinker? No problem; Dushanbe serves complete meals, cofees and even alcoholic drinks.

Speaking of tea, Bill Capsalis, executive director of the nonproft economic development agency Naturally Boulder, theorizes that the city’s natural-products scene originated in 1969, when Mo Siegel started Celestial Seasonings, the wildly successful tea company still based there (although now owned by Kraf Foods).

“Tere’s been a culture derived from early founders like Mo and Steve Demos of White Wave Tofu [now owned by Danone]. You know, ‘I want to save the world with tofu,’ ” he chuckles. Capsalis adds that the roots of the industry in Boulder came from a desire to make more plant-based

products. “People started to fock here from other places to launch their own natural products, and they found help, advice and support.”

Today, 95 percent of Naturally Boulder’s 1,000 or so members are Boulder-based; indeed, some call the town the “Silicon Valley for natural products.” Companies such as IZZE sparkling waters, Bobo’s oat bars and Justin’s peanut butter are a few of the many successful businesses launched in Boulder.

A fun way to discover and enjoy Boulder’s culinary scene is with Local Table Tours’ “Taste of Boulder Culinary Tour,” a walking tour of some of the town’s best independently owned bars and restaurants for cocktails, dinner, dessert and specialty food shopping.

Boulder just seems to have a unique food culture. Bobby Stuckey, master sommelier and co-owner of Frasca—the only restaurant in the nation specializing in Italy’s Friuli-Venezia Giulia region—says that he and chef/co-owner Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson did not expect to have the kind of success they have enjoyed. “We just happened to luckily show up when the community was ready to see new things,” he says modestly. “But I realize that part of it was serendipity. I could never have imagined what would happen!”

Stuckey adds that in Boulder, “All ships rise. We have such a great spirit of community and camaraderie here.”

And, to be sure, great appetites!

FROM LEFT: A seasonal side dish of asparagus and morels at Bramble and Hare; Saturday Boulder County Farmers Market; Blackbelly’s acclaimed owner and chef Hosea Rosenberg; Boulder County farmland. Photo courtesy of Visit Boulder, Stephen Collector Photo courtesy of Rachel Adams Photography
sip & savor MARCH/APRIL 2023 41
Irene Middleman Tomas is a Denver-based writer whose zest for new experiences and exploration continues unabated.

KoKo Ni reopens in RiNo to offer a curated tasting menu for adventurous eaters

Feeling indecisive and not sure what to order? No problem. Koko Ni has got you covered. With a “chef’s choice” menu, the tiny RiNo restaurant ofers 10 locally sourced and seasonal small plates in a 90-minute seating, giving the customer a chance to sit back and relax while the uber-talented staf dishes up a (mostly) plant-based and sustainable-seafood curated dining experience.

Chef de cuisine James Gnizak, hailing from Denver’s Rioja, Mercantile and La Fillette bakery, describes his rotating menu as farm-driven omakase, a mixture of Japanese with a French infuence, largely inspired by what’s in season in Colorado on any given day. “I never thought Denver was ready for something like this. I fgured we were a steakhouse-heavy city with safe American restaurants,” he says. “But in the last few years, there’s been a push for a diferent type of experience. With Koko Ni, guests don’t have to think about the menu and what they want to order. Just let us do our thing.”

Led by James Beard award-wining chef Paul Qui and Fam Hospitality business partner Johnny Hoang, KoKo Ni relocated late last year from Zeppelin Station to one of the group’s other spaces, formerly occupied by Lea Jane’s Hot Chicken on 26th Street in RiNo. While the spot didn’t work for the more casual Lea Jane’s due to low foot trafc and a challenging parking situation near Coors Field, KoKo Ni is a destination restaurant, says Gnizak. “It’s an intimate experience with a

fast-paced tasting menu. We’re nonstufy and nontraditional,” he adds. “Our guests eat frst bites with their hands,” thus the Japanese-style, grapefruit-infused hot hand towels served afer certain courses.

KoKo Ni—translating to “here” in Japanese—has its roots deeply planted in the Colorado farming community, sourcing most of its produce from Essotera Culinary Garden, Toohey & Sons Organic Farm and Aspen Moon Farms, among others. “In Colorado, ingredients are seasonal, so we can highlight certain things for a week or two and then move on,” says Gnizak, who formed an early bond with the earth and agriculture as a child in rural Ohio. “Tis gives me an opportunity to help out my farmers by using what’s in season.”

Te chefs turn out three small one-bite snacks, six savory courses and a show-stopping dessert nightly. Featured dishes include sunchoke and caviar (a rif on chips and dip); Mark’s Bouquet, a tied bunching of autumn leaves with hakurei turnip nam jim; Desert Fish, a fllet of barramundi with pinenut fumet and aged beef fat vinaigrette; Tom Kha, a jonah crab, koginut tortellini and chanterelle soup; and panna cotta with bitter caramel and matcha streusel. Diners also might be sampling crispy duck tongue, a scattering of crickets on any dish, or a tender petit oxtail with sprouting caulifower—all depending on the day.

Gnizak says his ultimate goal is to imbue diners with a full belly and happy heart. “No matter the sourcing of food or quality of product,” he says, “if our customers don’t leave that way, I’m not doing my job.” Yes, chef!

42 coloradoexpression com sip & savor
Rebecca Gart is a freelance food writer based out of Vail and Denver, where she lives with her husband and teenage son. She ate her frst cricket while dining at KoKo Ni.
Photos courtesy of KoKo Ni
“KoKo Ni translates to ‘here’— we see that as being present in time and space and environment.”
—James Gnizak, chef de cuisine

TOP: Dressed in vinegar, sugar, salt and soy sauce, the sweet and sour sunomono (cucumber) salad is the perfect complement to the intense flavors throughout the tasting menu.

BOTTOM: Sashimi desert fish with early summer tomato ponzu, crispy garlic and ice lettuce is refreshing yet complex.

The Details


NI 1441 26th St., Denver 303-390-1252
$125 per person Opens
5 p.m. for dinner Thursday through Monday. Reservations encouraged
“Our guests are going to learn a lot about produce and techniques. We’re showing people just how much flavor can be in vegetables.”
sip & savor MARCH/APRIL 2023 43
—James Gnizak, chef de cuisine

Traveling artists seek inspiration in Southern France


You’d be hard-pressed to fnd a prettier spot than Château de La Napoule, an American museum on the Côte d’Azur. With rocky clifs, pristine beaches and tropical plants surrounding the property, it’s like being submerged in a dreamscape of colors, scents, history, nature and, of course, art.

Te site was frst used by the Romans over 2,000 years ago, and during the 14th century the Villaneuve family erected a fortress that survived invasions, looting, wars and revolutions. It was a glass factory until 1789, and then abandoned until American expatriate millionaire-turned-artist Henry Clews Jr. and his architect wife, Marie, purchased the château in 1918. Tey spent the next 17 years transforming and restoring this ruin into an enchanted environment suited to their eccentric artistic taste.

Afer Henry’s death in 1937, the château was captured by the Germans during World War II, but Marie stayed on to serve as a maid to the soldiers and remain close to Henry’s creations. In 1951, she founded La Napoule Art Foundation to promote cultural exchange and understanding in loving memory of her husband, who had become a prolifc sculptor before his death.

Marie Clews invited the foundation’s frst resident artist, sculptor Edward (Ned) Hofman, to work at the Château de La Napoule in 1951. Today, life at La Napoule purposefully refects the artists’ camaraderie, cultural discourse and creative energy that the château enjoyed when the Clews made it their home and studio.

Te château compound, which includes the adjacent Villa Marguerite and six acres of historic gardens, ofers indoor and outdoor studios, as well as lecture, performance and instructional spaces.

“For over 70 years, LNAF has hosted internationally known artists, scholars and journalists from at least 40 diferent countries at the château–from flm festival and Oscar winners to Nobel laureates–to contribute to the greater good of mankind,” shares Molly Nuanes, director of operations and programs at La Napoule. “Both resident


200 Grant St., Denver 303-778-6990


191 University Blvd., #576, Denver 720-647-8529

artists and workshop participants bring their experiences back to their communities, carrying forward our founder Marie Clews’ mission of fostering the creative process as a catalyst for intercultural understanding.”

Tis summer, a group of students from the Art Students League of Denver will get to experience the Château de La Napoule and all its glory. Modeled on the famous Art Students League of New York, ASLD opened its doors in 1987 with a handful of recognized artists teaching more than 100 students within its frst year. Located in the historic Sherman School (designed by architect Henry Dozier in 1893), ASLD now engages more than 900 students a month with over 200 noted artists who teach diverse fne arts classes throughout the year.

In addition to its diverse curriculum, the league has ofered ateliers and cultural trips around the globe—from Marrakech to Madrid, Havana to Guadalajara — and this summer it will bring artists to Château de La Napoule through its partnership with La Napoule Art Foundation.

Taught by ASLD faculty member Sammy Lee, students will focus on creating a one-of-a-kind, accordion-style artist book using mixed-media techniques such as painting, drawing, cyanotype or assemblage (with locally found objects). Each creation will be based of each

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Photos courtesy of La Napoule Art Foundation
art scene

student’s response to the setting, its architecture, light and the Mediterranean.

“It is critical to La Napoule’s mission and commitment to cultural exchange that artists from all backgrounds are supported and that projects serve to advance the common good. Artists beneft tremendously from these career- and life-changing opportunities,” says Nuanes. Te foundation’s mission goes hand-in-hand with ASLD’s mission of encouraging inclusive community engagement through partnerships with performing arts groups, public schools, museums and other art centers.

Nuanes says that “through our partnership with the Art Students League of Denver, we see that the artists come away with a rich connection not only to the unparalleled landscape, but also with each other and the creative process.” Te château’s setting is the perfect retreat for artists of all disciplines who can spend mornings sculpting on the beach and afernoons painting in the gardens.

ASLD’s reach won’t be limited to Europe this year either. Tis fall, ASLD will be partnering with Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, ofering art enthusiasts the opportunity to experience the arteba—a renowned contemporary art fair—in Buenos Aires. For the past 30 years, the arteba has helped artists from Argentina and throughout Latin America reach a global audience. Known as the “Paris of the south,” Buenos Aires boasts renowned architecture, world-class cuisine, vibrant entertainment, topnotch shopping and rich historical sites, making this a true bucket-list trip for any aesthete.

Whether you’re interested in an atelier program or just want to travel to experience art, ASLD ofers programs for everyone—artists and art lovers alike.

OPPOSITE: The 14th century Chateau de La Napoule basking in the Cote d’Azur sun. TOP LEFT: Henry Clews Jr. and Marie Clews on their wedding day in 1914. They left for Paris shortly thereafter to start their lives together. TOP RIGHT: Sammy Lee, Artist Students League of Denver professor studying Clews’ sculptures at the Chateau de La Napoule. BOTTOM: The gardens that Marie Clew designed for Chateau de La Napoule are listed by the French Ministry of Culture as among the notable gardens of France.
art scene
Photo courtesy of Art Students League of Denver


46 coloradoexpression com well informed - GET THE INSIDE SCOOP, TIPS AND TRICKS FROM THOSE IN THE KNOW
Story Hillary Locke Mujica Photos April Martinez at Purely Perspective Photography

OPPOSITE LEFT: As an early-adaptor of Compass-Denver, Kristen Abell has been setting records and setting the bar for buying, selling and investing.

OPPOSITE RIGHT: The Abell family: Charlie, Tom, Kristen and Scarlett enjoying life in Colorado. TOP: As the No. 1 Small Team of Compass-Denver, Abell’s always educating herself on trends that will help her clients.

Although the Mile High City’s real estate market seems to be a bit more balanced this year, if we’ve learned anything, it’s that having a real estate agent who is well-versed in networking, negotiating, staging and creative solutions makes all the diference.

So, to launch our new Well Informed roundup, we sat down with local award-winning real estate expert Kristen Abell to talk about market trends, tips for getting your home ready to sell, advice for buyers and design concepts that are worth the investment.

Q. The real estate frenzy has died down a bit, but the Denver housing market is still going strong. What are your predictions for the rest of 2023?

A. As predicted, things were already heating up in the frst week of January, as they usually do in the Mile High City. For example, one of our listings in Green Mountain hadn’t received any ofers in 2022 (it was listed for 40 days); the new year rolled around, showings picked up, and we ended up with two competing ofers in the frst week of 2023.

Q. If you’re looking to sell your home this year, what are some ways to increase your chances of selling for top dollar?

A. First, focus on high-trafc areas and address issues such as fngerprints on walls, broken grout or caulk and dirty carpets and windows. Also, if there are maintenance issues that need attention—such as the

HVAC system, sprinklers or garage door—make sure to get those in working order. Next, you have to clear the clutter, so call in the experts to help you weed through old papers, books and mail and even décor that is taking up space. Buyers need to be able to visualize themselves in the home, so creating a clean, calm space is paramount. Next, look to the ceiling and replace outdated light fxtures, and consider giving your walls a fresh coat of paint. Tese simple things can make all the diference.

Q. If you’re looking to buy this year, how can you increase the chances of having your offer accepted?

A. To make your ofer more enticing in this market, you must be willing to get creative. Be sure to have your agent fnd out what the seller’s true motivations are—it is not always about getting top dollar, so if your ofer can speak directly to their needs, you’ll increase your chances. Also, if you can give the seller the terms they desire (outside of price) on the frst ofer, in my experience it can make the negotiations much more favorable.

Q. Which home improvement projects garner the most return on investment?

A. Don’t underestimate the magic of fresh paint on your walls, ceilings and trim. Just make sure to select colors that are on-trend. Although pure white walls might be the easiest option, the current design trend is a more calming, serene palate like Behr’s Conifer Green or Half Sea Fog. Also, consider refnishing wood foors.

If you are looking to do true renovations, it’s always best to focus your money on kitchens and bathrooms. Opt for timeless features with playful colors, patterns and textures that refect your personality and design aesthetic. Choose natural elements, such as wood and stone, mixed with layered artisan details and gold hardware.

Q. What design trends are you seeing that inspire you?

A. In our recent build we used a lot of natural wood, which gives such a warm and cozy feeling when you enter the room. Wallpaper continues to be a hot trend, and I am all about it! Powder rooms, bedrooms, accent walls and even your ofce ceiling are all prime locations for wallpaper, and it adds so much personality to your home. Adding layers of texture through meaningful heirloom objects and art adds depth and warmth that tells a story—that’s what makes a house a home.

Q. Anything else you want to share?

A. Reach out to your trusted advisor well before the spring market is in full force. So ofen, our clients call us in May or June thinking it is the best time to get the process started, and while summer is still usually a strong time to buy a home in Denver, March, April and May are historically the most favorable for sellers to hit the market frst, which translates into less intrusive showings and typically higher ofers.

The Details

MARCH/APRIL 2023 47 well informed


Story Hillary Locke Mujica
Looking to the past to create a colorful future
Photos Kravet and Emily Minton-Redfield
interior style 48 coloradoexpression com
OPPOSITE: Nadia Watts at the Kravet Design Studio in New York working with The Gem Collection fabrics and her original designs.

Good design touches all the senses and truly helps us live more inspired lives. Tis year, experts are elevating our senses with bold textiles in cheerful hues, oversized art and bespoke furniture—all coming together to showcase poignant individualism. And there’s one Denver interior designer who is celebrating these trends by taking a cue from her ancestors, who paved the way for her and others to create textiles for a new generation.

Nearly two centuries ago, Denver interior designer Nadia Watts’ great-great-grandfather, Louis Comfort Tifany (1848-1933), founded the iconic stained-glass Tifany Studios in New York City. He was the son of Charles Lewis Tifany, who in 1837 founded Tifany & Company, the American luxury retailer renowned for its extraordinary silver and jewelry designs. In 1880, Louis began creating inventive sheets of multicolored glass for stained-glass windows and creating highly artistic glass vases. Gorgeous glass jewels and gems were also used in an array of shapes, sizes and colors that were incorporated into windows, mosaics and lamps.

Louis, like his father, pursued the business of art. At a young age, he was exposed to the fnest crafsmen and designers who conceived and fabricated luxury objects in gold and silver for Tifany & Company. In 1902, when Charles died, Louis became the company’s frst design director for the family business.

Watts is a descendant of not only Louis Comfort and Louise Tifany, but also of Richard Watson and Helena deKay Gilder. All four were at the heart of the art world. “Granny [Helena] grew up in the Tifany Mansion residence complex designed by [architects] McKim, Mead and White at 72nd and Madison Avenue, New York,” Watts explains. “She summered with Grandpa Tifany at the Laurelton Hall estate in Oyster Bay, Long Island. Te turn of the 20th century was such a diferent world then, so opulent and over-the-top.”

Although Watts started her own interior design frm in Denver in 2009, it wasn’t until 2017 that she frst visited the Neustadt Collection of Tifany Archival Glass. She was invited there by Ellen Kravet, of the ffh-generation»

MARCH / APRIL 2023 49 interior style

American textile company Kravet Inc., to join a select group of interior designers from the New York area for a day at the Neustadt.

Tat day, afer being greeted by Lindsy Parrott, the curator and executive director of the collection, and Cynthia Williams, board president, Watts embarked on a breathtaking tour of the archive, starting with the wooden vertical catalogues of glass organized by color, size and type. In the center of the room were large tables covered in diferent types of glass. Watts was immediately drawn to the colors and textures—in particular, the ripples in the thick sheets of blues and greens that showcase a variety of techniques Tifany Studios developed for its windows, lamps and mosaics.

Te following day, Watts brought her mother, Julia, and son to see the breathtaking collection. “Tey [Parrott and Williams] gave me a large envelope full of family photos from leading Tifany expert Paul Doros. Some I had seen in our family albums, and others were new to me; I became overwhelmed with a wave of emotions,” says Watts. Tey spent four hours looking through the glass archive with Parrott and sharing family stories. “I was spellbound by the piles of iridescent glass pieces, thinking of my great-great-grandfather and all he created,” Watts says.

Afer being surrounded by the vibrant colors and objects, she knew she wanted to fnd a way to incorporate her forebear’s design elements into a diferent medium—fabric—to honor his work.

On her fight back to Denver afer that 2017 trip, she brainstormed ways to interpret the glass on fabric. “When I got home, I started playing around with watercolors to re-create the colors of glass that stood out to me most. Next, I focused on the shapes and created unique patterns using the jewels and smaller pieces of glass. I sketched with pencils the combination of shapes into patterns using groups of colors that my eye was drawn to.”

As Watts applied color to the patterns, she realized she needed to use a medium that was more consistent than watercolor. “I spent

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a few hours at a local art store and found markers that closely emulated the colors of the glass to create patterns and show how they would be applied to diferent types of fabrics.” Once she had created a range of designs and colors, she had a variety of textured fabrics printed in the patterns. Ready to present a concept, she reached out to Kravet to share her fabric ideas inspired by Tifany glass.

Fast-forward to summer 2022 and the launch of the Nadia Watts Gem Collection from Kravet, inspired by the colors and textures of Tifany glass jewels. “I love that I can take my great-great-grandfather’s Tifany glass from over 140 years ago and have it be the foundation for a fabric collection that can be used today for furniture, draperies, pillows, headboards and more,” Watts says.

On a personal level, working on this collection gave Watts the opportunity to tap into a deep innate creativity through color, shapes and texture. “Te collection fulflled a creative piece of me; to have that be a part of our family history feels very natural and authentic during this moment.” Watts says that while looking at the Tifany glass and jewels in 2017, she felt an immediate connection. “To think that Louis had worked with this glass, this beautiful timeless glass that transcends media—and that I was able to reinterpret these elements into something tangible—it’s beyond my wildest dreams.”

Nadia Watts graduated from Hollins University and the New York School of Interior Design. She is a trustee of the Neustadt Collection; a professional member and an advisory board member of the Institute of Classical Art & Architecture Rocky Mountain Chapter; an associate ASID member; an advisory board member of the Heritage School of Interior Design; and a professional member of Design Leadership Network, an international collaborative of design professionals.

Curated Pop-Up

Starting March 1, Nadia Watts will be opening a curated pop-up at the former Ginny Williams Gallery at 299 Fillmore St. in Cherry Creek. This unique opportunity will celebrate the Kravet fabric line by Nadia Watts, The Gem Collection, with the fabrics on treasured upholstered pieces and pillows you can take home. It will also include a curated collection of furnishing, accessories, collectibles, rugs and artwork on display and for sale.

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OPPOSITE PAGE: Nadia Watts at The Neustadt Collection of Tiffany Glass Archive with Lindsy Parrott, curator and executive director of the collection, in 2017. Watts explores the Tiffany jewels and flat glass. TOP: Nadia Watts Gem Collection fabrics on custom pillows, drapes and the upholstered walls with Kravet furniture and accessories.
The Details


Have you heard the polished British accents on television commercials for Viking Cruises, or seen the gorgeous video of the sleek river and ocean ships? If your tastes involve nature shows, PBS documentaries, Metropolitan Opera streams and such, you probably have.

Viking Cruises calls itself “the thinking person’s cruise” and, indeed, it caters to and attracts the type of travelers who are afcionados of such cultured entertainment.

In 2022, Viking was voted both the Best River Line and the Best Ocean Line by Condé Nast Traveler in the publication’s Readers’ Choice Awards. It was also named No. 1 for both river and ocean cruises by Travel + Leisure, making it the only line to reach the top of its categories in both publications in the same year.

I must admit that before I had experienced Viking, I had been on one (enormous!) cruise ship and it was not to my liking. Now, I am a Viking fan, and I have had the pleasure of traveling on six Viking voyages in the line’s three categories: river, ocean and expedition.

At the orientation of our frst cruise a few years ago on Portugal’s Douro River, return guests were asked for a show of hands—and impressively, nearly everyone’s hand was raised.

Celebrating 25 years in river and ocean cruising—traveling to 88 countries and all seven continents, with more than 500,000 guests annually—Viking distinguishes itself from other cruise lines by what it does not ofer: casinos, inside (windowless) staterooms, cruises for children under 18 and, amusingly, umbrella drinks.

Viking lives up to its “Exploring the World in Comfort” slogan with understated elegance. Appealing to a sophisticated “empty nester” age group, mostly from the United States and the United Kingdom, its trips are for those who love exploration, education, relaxation and beautiful scenery, as well as stimulating conversation, gourmet cuisine and Scandinavian-designed, well-appointed cabins. It’s not just the big things with Viking that people enjoy. It is the small touches, too: Te hot washcloths handed to passengers returning from excursions. Te bookmarks, placed beside personal

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Photos courtesy of Viking Cruises

OPPOSITE: Specifically built to navigate the Nile, the Viking Osiris allows guests to explore temples, pyramids and spice markets with expert Egyptologists. TOP LEFT: The Scandinavian design remains a high point throughout the ocean and expedition fleets. Lots of comfortable areas for relaxation and conversation are found within the living room areas on both types of ships. TOP RIGHT: Each day in Antarctica affords a new opportunity to get a front-row seat to witness nature at work. Penguins, seals, migratory birds and whales take advantage of the ocean’s rich bounties. BOTTOM: Viking Longships offer full-size verandas and panoramic views on their Aquavit Terrace, perfect for al-fresco dining.

books in the staterooms. Te public restrooms with discreet birdsong playing in the background. Te baristas who remember how one likes their cofee. Te almost 2-to-1 passenger-to-employee ratio.

We still keep in touch with some folks we met on cruises; with such small passenger counts (a maximum of 930, even on the ocean voyages), it is likely that you would run into fellow travelers over and over and develop relationships. Te temporary closeness a small cruise brings to its passengers is special and makes the vacation a much richer experience.

Red and white house wine, as well as local beer, are included with the outstanding cuisine at meals, and there are always at least three main entree choices. Viking is meticulous about accommodating special diets, and the waitstaf is extremely solicitous. Fresh fruit and vegetables are abundant at every meal, desserts are delectable (as they should be), and lunch always features an inviting salad array as well as hot entrees. Local specialties are ofered when en route to diferent countries. For example, on the Douro River cruise, we enjoyed Portuguese dishes such as francesinha sandwiches, charcoal-grilled sardine salad and bacalhao

prepared in various ways, as well as a special Spanish dinner of paella, crema catalana and gambas al ajillo. Tose who prefer simpler items such as Beef Wellington, poached salmon or barbecued chicken won’t be disappointed, as there are many options.

In 2022 the company launched eight new Viking Longships on European rivers, new purpose-built vessels for the Nile, Mekong and Mississippi rivers, and two new ocean ships. Viking now has more than 60 river ships and seven ocean vessels in its feet, along with two state-of-the-art, polar-class expedition ships, designed for adventure and exploration in Antarctica, South America and the Great Lakes. Te ships are essentially foating research facilities with internal submarine storage marinas.

When I asked a fellow passenger who had taken numerous Viking cruises to name her favorite part of her trips, she replied, “It’s really everything; the ship itself, the food, the drinks, the staf, the staterooms, the music, the lectures. It is such a complete experience!”

MARCH/APRIL 2023 53 getaways
Irene Middleman Tomas is a Denver-based writer whose zest for new experiences and exploration continues unabated.

Taylor River Lodge —

Timeless Adventure for the Modern-Day Traveler

The Details


10931 County Road 742, Almont 970-299-9517

By room from $1,050/night. Starting at $14,300 per night for a private buyout based on 24 guests.

Taylor River Lodge is closed Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

New “hipster” boutique lodging is popping up all over Colorado, but Taylor River Lodge’s authenticity and genuine nod to historic Colorado is the real deal

Run by the world-renowned Eleven Experience—which boasts bespoke luxury lodges in Chile, Iceland, France, New Zealand, Canada, the Bahamas and Colorado—Taylor River Lodge is located in Taylor Canyon on the shores of the Taylor River. Nestled into the barely-on-themap town of Almont (halfway between Gunnison and Crested Butte) is a haven of respite as well as outdoor ventures.

Te lodge, which began operations in 2016, was previously a general store that catered to the region’s fy-fshing afcionados. Upon renovation, all the charming details were preserved (D-log cabin kits, cribbage boards, curated bookshelves and, of course, lots of fshing gear), giving the property a nostalgic nod in combination with modern amenities. Te lodge’s cluster of cabins tucked into the woods seemed to be the perfect setting for the three-day adventure that awaited our family of four.

Afer a gobsmackingly beautiful drive from Boulder, we arrived at the mouth of Taylor Canyon.

With every breath, the canyon’s unique beauty and nature’s magic began to take efect, calming my entire body.


Upon arrival, we were warmly greeted with gooey chocolate chip-molasses cookies (a major plus for our two young kids) and ushered to our lodging, the Golden Stone cabin. Te log cabin was impeccably decorated, and each window faced yet another magnifcent view of the property. Te familial feel of the cabin helped us all settle in before we went of to explore the rest of the lodge community.


Our family is pretty adventurous and has had its fair share of outdoor excursions, but what set this trip apart were the curated experiences ofered to us. Te team at the lodge crafed ventures specifc to our needs, satiating our bookworm daughter, high-energy son, extreme sports hubby, and me,

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Photos courtesy of Taylor River Lodge, Eleven Experience
colorado weekends
Story Jordan Martindell

OPPOSITE: Secluded in a Colorado canyon, Taylor River Lodge makes an ideal spot to unplug and recharge. THIS PAGE FROM TOP: Snowshoeing on a blanket of fresh snow and listening to the quiet of the forest offers a special kind of peacefulness. For good, old fashion fun, the Copper John Game Cabin is where it’s at with a pool table, darts, foosball, vintage board games and a collection of guitars to set the mood. Guided Yoga Nidra helps lull guests to sleep with deep breathwork, soothing sounds and aromatherapy. The Bath House invites guests to swim and soak in the warm saltwater pool. Complete with a reclaimed barn wood ceiling, antique antlers and a retractable floor-to-ceiling window to bring the outdoors in.

who simply wanted to have a good time outside while breaking a sweat.

Rosie (my 9-year-old) and husband, Cameron, embarked on an all-day backcountry ski tour while Rey (my 5-year-old) and I relaxed at the lodge. Afer a quick and easy Nordic ski jaunt around the property, Rey and I were ready to test out the pool and hot tub. Next, we settled into some game time together at the Copper John game cabin, eagerly awaiting the return of our more adventurous counterparts.

I began our fnal day with an early morning yoga session and then joined the family for our fnal outing: a snowshoeing tour of the property.


Te on-site private chef-prepared meals for the duration of our stay, crafing menus just for us. From breakfast to lunch on the go, to curated dinners featuring local provisions, the food at the resort was not only fuel but also a thing of culinary beauty, tantalizing the taste buds of even the pickiest eaters (my kids included).

We were able to choose our meals ahead of our trip, allowing for maximum enjoyment without the hemming and hawing over a menu. Each meal had a hint of local fare without being too complicated. (I am still dreaming of the fresh citrus-and-burrata salad and elk tenderloin.) And our children were able to dine on elevated kids meals that included kale salad, seasonal vegies and “fancy” desserts.


With no phone service and a bathhouse of infnite possibilities, we enjoyed the opportunities to unwind. Te kids enjoyed playing Marco Polo in the saltwater pool and taking quick dips in the hot tub. Cameron and I experienced the serenity of sound-bathing massage therapy (a deeply immersive listening experience) and yoga.

As if I wasn’t relaxed enough, I topped of the trip with a custom message at the tranquil spa–which was even more enjoyable being surrounded by a winter wonderland. And while I relaxed, the kids got a private cookie-making class with the chef–a total win all the way around!

As we departed for the journey home, I held on to the calm, quaint, snow-flled memories this backcountry oasis provided—and started to plan our next visit. Perhaps we will return in the summer and add rushing water, alpine fowers, chirping birds, bighorn sheep and the occasional moose that can be seen in Taylor Canyon to our list of memories at Taylor River Lodge.

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Following a career in high-end retail management in California and New York, Jordan Martindell now calls Boulder home, blending her love of aesthetics and the outdoors. She documents her adventures for a variety of magazines and websites.


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Story Elizabeth Hamilton Photos courtesy of Safaris Unlimited (Africa) Ltd.
“Africa penetrates the soul! Gordie and Felicia’s spirit, knowledge and professionalism create a lifetime experience. We have been truly blessed to experience Africa and the Congo through their vision and friendship.”
—Kathy and Skip Dines, Boulder
great escapes MARCH / APRIL 2023 57
Masai Mara, Kenya. Felicia jumping the legendary Mshale, one of the finest lead-horses in the company’s history.

Based in Kenya and founded on tradition and an appreciation for the land, Safaris Unlimited (Africa) Ltd. since 1971 has provided adventure-seekers with magical, intense and unforgettable excursions into the “wildest corners of the land … deep into the wilderness where there are no other people around.”

Owners Gordie and Felicia Church create personalized safaris for their guests, assembling itineraries based on an initial Zoom meeting where goals and budget are determined.

Guests can choose from any number of safaris: mobile, horseback, helicopter, photo, fy-fshing or tracking the great apes. Each is focused on giving travelers an unparalleled opportunity to experience big game in their natural habitat in such East Africa locales as Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or in Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve Serengeti National Park in Tanzania or the Indian Ocean Islands.

“Going on safari with Gordie and Felicia is life-changing. It sounds corny, but you reconnect with the most basic elements of life. Somehow, being within 30 feet of a lion, having hippos tromp through your camp at night, watching a cheetah take down a gazelle and having a bull elephant evacuate your lunch spot—it is primal and magnificent. And doing it on horseback makes it feel as if you are part of it all—not just a visitor.”

“Te beauty of East Africa is that you can go from the snow-capped mountains of Mount Kenya to the vast Chalbi Desert without having to travel too far,” Gordie says. “You can see chimpanzees and gorillas, climb volcanos … the options are endless.”

Gordie and Felicia purchased Safaris Unlimited in 2002 from Gordie’s father, Tony Church, the eldest son of missionary parents. Tony, who grew up on the slopes of Mount Kenya, began Safaris Unlimited by selling a set of golf clubs in order to buy three horses to service his initial customers: crews from British Airways and PanAm who were looking for something to do while on layover in Kenya and seemed to enjoy the day rides on the hillsides west of Nairobi. In 1985, Tony Church leased his farm and horses from the Safaris Unlimited stables to the crew flming the Academy Award-winning flm Out of Africa

Te Churches speak the local language and have some 50 years of “wonderful relationships with the local tribesmen, elders, chiefs

and landowners. To be able to show that to our guests is our joy,” says Gordie.

Gordie and Felicia have two children, who “have grown up barefoot and in the bush” and who exhibit the same love for the country that their parents have. “We’re a community,” Gordie says, “a family made up of neighbors and others from all across the land.”

A Safaris Unlimited trip is a time to switch of altogether, to escape the workaday world and the stresses that are part and parcel of it. “To unplug from the increasingly stressful daily routines that we are all used to is really part of the luxury,” Felicia says. “Your bigest decision of the day is whether to ride a horse or take the Jeep.”

She adds: “Watching our guests start to unwind is really a joy for us. From the time we pick them up at the airport to when we drop them back of, they are diferent people—for the better.”

Safaris Unlimited ofers trips of various luxury levels, depending on your budget and wants. “You can go from the most beautiful private homes that sleep 10-12 guests, with chefs, waiters and staf, to sleeping under the stars”, says Gordie.

Private mobile camps are purposefully set up away from any others. “Tese camps are carefully curated with all the amenities, the personal touches one might expect or need. Candlelit dinners with grand conversations, children building fres with help from the safari camp crew, night drives, bush breakfasts, learning the cultures … there is no more special way to see this land,” Felicia says, adding: “Our safaris aren’t just another trip, and this sets us apart from other outftters.” •

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Elizabeth Hamilton is the group publisher for Colorado Expression, Colorado Homes & Lifestyles and Mountain Living. She and her husband had the pleasure of riding though the countryside in Spain with Gordie and Felicia Church last spring. Joanne Davidson contributed to this story. — Rebecca Kourlis, Castle Rock

TOP LEFT: “Safari” in Kiswahili means “to journey.” Safari Unlimited’s luxury mobile safaris are an epitome of this tradition. TOP RIGHT: Riding with the mighty wildebeest migration in Kenya.

BOTTOM LEFT: Close encounters with the regal lion. BOTTOM RIGHT: The very best safari is one that takes you closest to nature and that is under a private canvas.

MARCH / APRIL 2023 59
great escapes

THE SONNENALP CLUB A year-round community connected through the great outdoors

For fve generations, the Faessler family has defned boutique European hospitality with their Sonnenalp resorts in Oferschwang, Germany, and Vail. Originally a German bed-and-breakfast owned and operated by Adolf and Eleanore Faessler in 1919, the Sonnenalp name made its way to Vail in 1979 with the opening of the hotel. But as Vail became more than just a destination for powder hounds, the Faesslers had to fnd a way to keep guests engaged year-round.

In 1987, they introduced the Sonnenalp Club, nestled 15 minutes from Vail Village in the town of Edwards, with 160 acres of some of Colorado’s most pristine mountain landscapes. With an esteemed golf course, ball courts, pools and a wellness center, it’s certainly not a stufy country club but an approachable community based on the love of the outdoors and the European hospitality that represents the Sonnenalp name.

In 2016, the Faesslers added a 10,000-square-foot, high-end

ftness facility featuring three wellness studios and state-ofthe-art equipment. Ofering more than 50 group classes a week, including yoga, Pilates and cardio, there’s no shortage of options to break a sweat and boost endorphins. Outside, club-goers enjoy tennis and pickleball courts, three pools and, of course, the golf course with lightning-fast greens and fairways framed by spectacular mountain views.

Te par-71, 18-hole championship-length golf course is the only golf course in the United States co-designed by legendary course architects Jay Morrish and Bob Cupp. Te club honors their vision and talent by hosting the annual Morrish-Cupp Cup (a pro-am). Other notable tournaments hosted there include the USGA’s U.S. Junior Amateur Championship in 1987, the Colorado Open in 2001 and 2002, and the Colorado State Amateur in 1985 and 2017.

With its natural fow, fast greens and spectacular mountain

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Photos courtesy of The Sonnenalp Club
club profile

The Details


1265 Berry Creek Road, Edwards


views, the course hasn’t changed much since it was designed in 1980. However, this year the club is undertaking renovations and updates, including an upgrade to its 40-year-old irrigation system that will reduce water usage by 20 percent, furthering its commitment to sustainability.

“Tere is a very robust golf scene here in Vail Valley,” says Sebastian Faessler, the ffh-generation hotelier. “Te greens conditions are some of the best you’ll fnd, and part of that is due to the longevity of our groundskeeping staf and the type of grass we use.” Plus, the course is south facing so the snow clears faster, allowing for a longer playing season. Another perk is Sonnenalp’s single-rider electric-motor golf bikes, which travel at the same speed and with the same stability as a golf cart but are more environmentally sound—plus they’re just plain fun!

In addition to the sports and recreational oferings, the Sonnenalp’s Harvest Restaurant & Bar serves up elevated classics

like short-rib nachos, bufalo chicken fatbread and fourcheese baked gnocchi, all paired with postcard-like panoramic views enjoyed from the dining room, bar and expansive patios. One aspect that distinguishes the club from others in the area is its young clientele. “We defnitely have a family environment here. It’s common to see young children playing with their parents and grandparents,” says Faessler, and special events like Glow Ball (nighttime golf with neon balls) and Dog Day Afernoons (monthly rounds of golf with furry family members) keep them coming back for more. Another favorite is the end-of-summer Poochie Paddle, when dogs swim their hearts out before the pools close for the season.

Sonnenalp Club memberships have been capped out since last summer, but there is a waiting list. Don’t want to wait? Guests of the Sonnenalp Hotel can enjoy all of the club’s amenities, including rounds of glorious golf.

OPPOSITE: Sunset dinner on the patio at Harvest at The Sonnenalp Club.
• MARCH/APRIL 2023 61 club profile
LEFT: Even four-legged family members get in on the action at the end of summer Poochie Paddle. RIGHT: Stunning mountain views and green fairways invite golfers of all levels to play from April through October.
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Thermal waters in the Bradshaw Mountains of Arizona make Castle Hot Springs the ultimate restorative wellness retreat

Photos courtesy of Castle Hot Springs

For centuries, people have sought out hot springs all over the world for bathing, healing, socializing and spiritual intentions. Hot springs are the world’s frst spas, with naturally warm, mineral-rich water fowing from the ground that have soothed aches and pains for millennia, and the historical icon that is Castle Hot Springs has to be one of the best. Nestled in a ruged and remote desert northwest of Phoenix, it is part holistic hideaway, part outdoor playground, part Hollywood Wild West set—and all a uniquely perfect getaway.

Te deep history of this tucked-away retreat can be seen in the layers of rocks that surround the pools. Te Yavapai tribe frst journeyed to the medicinal waters of the hot springs to soak in the rich minerals, known to treat sore muscles, improve mobility and boost skin health.

With the arrival of the railroad southeast of Wickenburg, Ariz., In 1895, entrepreneur Frank M. Murphy purchased the property to capitalize on the restoring benefts of the water and the desert environment while boasting the frst wellness resort in the state.

Te resort opened in 1886, and the frst brave guests had to endure a difcult fve-hour stagecoach ride to reach the springs. Te journey was made easier in 1898 with the arrival of a nearby train depot, followed by the frst horse bus service 10 years later. At the turn of the 20th century, throngs of people continued moving west, many for their»

OPPOSITE LEFT: Immerse yourself in the unique desert landscapes in the Bradshaw Mountains surrounding Castle Hot Springs. TOP: Experience a desert soak in the mineral hot springs cascading into three pools of varying warm temperatures. BOTTOM: The Spring Bungalows, complete with custom Sonoma stone tubs, luxurious bedding, exposed beams, stone fireplace and the sound of the babbling creek will be your own private oasis.

MARCH/APRIL 2023 63 healthy living
Story Hillary Locke Mujica

TOP: Soaking in the thermal hot springs offers an array of health benefits and zen-like relaxation. BOTTOM: The Castle Creek Aerial Walkway is a 150-foothigh bridge offering sweeping views of the Sonoran Desert—not recommended for those with a fear of heights.

The Details



5050 N. Castle Hot Springs Road, Morristown, Ariz. 855-270-0441

health. Celebrities and dignitaries from around the world found their way to the waters of Castle Hot Springs. Te guest register includes magnates of industry like the Rockefeller and Pew families, as well as the Vanderbilts and Astors.

President Teodore Roosevelt stayed at the resort during the dedication of the Roosevelt Dam, and in the 1940s the resort was used as a military rehabilitation center to treat veterans wounded during World War II. One famous serviceman who rested at Castle Hot Springs was future president John F. Kennedy.

Afer fres destroyed some of the buildings in 1976 and again in 1996, the resort remained dormant for 40 years, reopening in 2019 afer a complete renovation embodying the original sense of escape, relaxation and adventure. Today, the 1,100acre property is home to 30 cabins and villas that allow guests to commune with nature at every turn. For example, the Sky View Cabins are perfectly positioned for stargazing while the Spring Bungalows feature private freplaces as well as outdoor tubs that source mineral water directly from the springs.

To further connect with nature, guests are invited to actively partake in the landscape and culture of the Bradshaw Mountains. Hiking destinations include a private slot canyon in a remote section of the Sonoran Desert, with groups led by expert outdoorsmen with vast knowledge of the surrounding ecosystem along the way—which includes saguaro cacti and desert wildfowers. Along the route are vast vistas and rock formations unfolding layers of geology that tell a fascinating story of history. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot the resident pair of peregrine falcons.

Tose looking to further their quest for adventure, and who have the mental and physical agility, should experience the Via Ferrata, or “Iron Way” system, with ladders, rungs and steel cables afxed to the rocks. Tere are only a handful of such courses in the U.S., and this one was designed specifcally for Castle Hot Springs to explore 11,000 acres of the majesty of the Sonoran Desert from a position few experience.

Afer you’re signifcantly tired and sore from the day’s adventures, soaking in the ancient natural hot springs flled with rich minerals is just the ticket. Te unique water is particularly rich in lithium, magnesium and bicarbonates that are said to help lif your mood, calm your mind, and ease aching joints and muscles. All the elements come together—fre, water, earth and air—to create a mecca of renewal for your mind, body and soul.

Finally, when the table and the organic farm and greenhouse are mere feet apart, it’s no wonder that chefs John Amann and Chris Schuetta and resident agronomist Ian Beger work in tandem to design menus, select seeds and create delights like honey-roasted carrots and tomato-onion jam for their restaurant, Harvest. Tey’re known for their ability to produce otherworldly dishes from humble ingredients. For an in-depth look at the diversity and sustainability of their operation and to sample the goods, take a tour of the farm and get your hands dirty.

Te history, the healing powers and the hospitality of Castle Hot Springs will have you dreaming of the desert and all its beauty for years to come.

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